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Council considers cemetery cleanup

The Russellville City Council convened on Monday night to discuss and approve a number of items on the meeting’s agenda. The action got started during the work session when Chris Ozbirn, who serves as the chief archivist at the Franklin County Archives, asked the council for its help in restoring two of the oldest cemeteries in the city.

“Old Town Cemetery and Sadler Cemetery are a mess,” Ozbirn told the council. “I don’t know what it is, but something has to be done.”

Ozbirn said both cemeteries have headstones that have been knocked over or destroyed and parts of the cemeteries have been vandalized.

“In February, we’ll begin celebrating our bicentennial and a lot of people will be coming here,” she said. “It is not a good reflection on us with the cemeteries in the shape that they are in.”

Ozbirn asked the council to consider taking action in order to clean up and maintain the two cemeteries. Mayor David Grissom and councilman William Nale both vocally expressed their intention to look into her request.

After Ozbirn spoke, the council recognized two young men for their service to the community. Gabe and Dakota Patterson were acknowledged by councilmen Gary Cummings and Jamie Harris for voluntarily cleaning up around Sloss Lake after the Fourth of July celebration.

After the celebration, around midnight, Cummings said he and Harris spotted the Pattersons walking around picking up the trash others had left behind. Cummings and Harris approached the two boys and asked them who paid them to clean up. The two were not being paid but said they were cleaning up because they wanted to.

“No one asked them to do it, no one told them they had to be there,” Harris said. “These two should be recognized for doing something right and for doing something good for their community.”

The Pattersons were applauded by those in attendance and were presented gifts by Cummings and Harris before taking a picture with the mayor and council.

Moving on to the city council meeting, two of the first major items the council approved was allowing the mayor to accept the funding agreements with both the Alabama Department of Transportation Aeronautics Bureau and the Federal Aviation Administration for a project at the Russellville Municipal Airport. The grants are worth over $150,000 and will go to address drainage at the airport.

“This project has been on the table for months now,” said mayor David Grissom. “What the council did tonight was give me approval to accept the grants so we can finally get started on the project.”

The council also approved the 2017 Retiree Act resolution. Under the provisions of Section 2 of Act 367 of the Regular Session of the 2017 Alabama Legislature, municipalities have the option to provide certain retirees or beneficiaries of deceased retirees with a one-time lump sum payment.

In October, the city will pay out a lump sum of $25,788 to retirees.

“This is a big deal, I think, because (Russellville) is one of the first cities to do this,” Grissom said. “I believe it’s just another way to show our retirees how much we appreciate their service.”

And to close out the meeting, the council approved the appointment of nine Park and Recreation Department Board members. Kevin Stone (District 1, 5 years); James Hamilton (District 2, 7 years); Zach Mosley (District 3, 6 years); Howard Hillman (District 4, 4 years); Gloria Butts (District 5, 3 years); Chad Whitfield (At-Large, 7 years); Mary Scofield (At-Large, 2 years); Brandon James (At-Large, 7 years); and Heath Grimes (At-Large, 1 year) were all approved to serve on the Park and Recreation Department board.

Other actions taken by the Russellville City Council:

- Authorized the sale of surplus Street Department equipment by sealed bids

- Appointed Hunter Butler as Dispatcher in the Russellville Police Department

- Accepted bid from Affordable Service for a new air conditioning unit for the A.W. Todd Centre in the amount of $4,794

- Authorized abatement of nuisances at 704 East Franklin Street, 705 East Franklin Street, 1233 City Lake Drive, 917 Burgess Street, 412 Sockwell Avenue, and 141 Webster Circle

- Considered claim by Cathye Garrison totaling $234.65


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